Environmental compliance is an important topic for everyone. It is especially relevant for anyone who works with commercial real estate or industrial facilities. This group includes property owners, investors, and commercial contractors. But it can be tough to get a straight answer when it comes to environmental compliance.
Sure, there are plenty of resources out there. However, many of them are packed with legal jargon. These articles also contain an overwhelming amount of information.
To help clear things up, we have created this introductory guide. Below, we’ll answer the common question, “What is environmental compliance?” Our team will also outline some must-know environmental laws and regulations. Let’s get started.
So What Is Environmental Compliance Exactly?
Environmental compliance refers to the need to comply with various environmental laws and regulations. Lawmakers designed these regulations to protect natural resources. Sounds simple enough, right? At its core, environmental compliance is a pretty straightforward concept.
Where things get tricky is when you dive into the overlapping regulations. Local and state agencies typically have specific environmental regulations. While parts of these laws might align with federal guidelines, in some cases, you may face conflicting rules and regulations.
Violating environmental compliance laws can lead to hefty fines. If your actions harm others, your business or your client’s business may also be subject to lawsuits. That is why it’s so important to understand and manage environmental compliance.
Must-Know Environmental Laws and Regulations
There are many important federal environmental regulations related to environmental compliance. Some of the most notable include the following.
The Clean Air Act
The Clean Air Act was designed to regulate emissions in the air. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces this act, which was created in 1970. It was later amended to address new environmental concerns.
The Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act is also enforced by the EPA. It became federal law in 1977. This act was created to keep people and businesses from discharging pollutants into “navigable waters.”
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) is one of the broadest environmental regulations in place at the federal level. It created a superfund that helps to pay for environmental cleanup efforts. It also allows the EPA to recover funds from businesses that contribute to contamination.
How to Manage Environmental Compliance
The best way to manage environmental compliance in accordance with applicable regulations is to develop an “environmental compliance plan.” Your plan should include laws that might affect your property. It should also outline any environmental hazards that could be present on your property.
Your plan should also address the ways that you intend to protect natural resources. When it’s finished, this plan should serve as your compliance roadmap. A great plan will help you to protect your interests and avoid fines.
In some cases, you may need to perform certain actions before you purchase commercial property. For instance, as part of your research into a potential investment property, you should schedule an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA).
Schedule your ESA to be done well before you close on commercial real estate. An ESA can reveal whether any environmental hazards are present. If you discover any hazards, you may be able to adjust your bid or withdraw your offer.
The fact is that managing environmental compliance can be complex. As a result, many businesses decide to partner with a third party for help. An environmental compliance firm such as RSB Environmental can help you find potential hazards and create a strategy to address them. They may also offer key risk mitigation services.
The right partner can be a valuable part of your environmental compliance efforts.
Learn More About Managing Environmental Compliance
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